Even the Bible confuses these two concepts--"the works of Satan" and "the anger of God." This is easily proven by considering the incident in which King David sinned by numbering Israel. This incident is first recorded in 2 Samuel 24:1, and then centuries later in 1 Chronicles 21:1. In the earlier entry, David's sin is caused by "the anger of God," while in the later passage "Satan's provocation" is the cause of David's sin.
"And again THE ANGER OF THE LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah." 2 Sam. 24:1.
"And SATAN stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel..." 1 Chr. 21:1.
The above passages describe the same event where David sinned by numbering Israel. Same event. Same David. Same sin. Same result: 70,000 dead Israelites, but a different cause of evil. The Samuel passage attributes it to the anger of the Lord while the later Chronicles passage attributes it to Satan.
But, I recently discovered FURTHER fascinating support for the above proposal. The Jews, both in their Talmudic and Post-Talmudic literature, believed that Samael (literally "the wrath or poison of God") was another name for Satan. They equated "God's wrath" with "Satan's oppressions."
The Talmud states "the evil Spirit, Satan, and Sama'el the Angel of Death, are the same" (Rabba Batra, 16a); and Samael there is also made synonymous with the Biblical serpent of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
In The Holy Kabbalah (Arthur Edward Waite, 255), Samael is described as the "wrath of God." Samael/Satan is a major archangel in Talmudic and post-Talmudic lore, a figure who is accuser (devil), seducer and destroyer, and has been regarded at various times as both good and evil.
"Satan/ Samael, the prince of demons and/or destructive angel, has had many incarnations in Jewish literature. In several texts, 'Samael' seems to be the name of the Angel of Death. At least once in the Zohar, he is declared the 'shadow of death,' a kind of consort to Death (I: 160b). In other texts, he is regarded as synonymous with Satan, but almost as often he is treated as a separate entity (BhM 1:58-61; Ex. R. 21:7). Elsewhere, Samael is called 'chief of all the satans' (Dent. R. 11:10; III Enoch). In Midrash Konen, Samael is the prince of the third gate to Gehenna, the gate that opens on Jerusalem (2:30).
Samael has made many earthly appearances. In Pirkei de-Rabbi Eleazer (13), he is described as the greatest angel in heaven, who out of jealousy over the creation of humanity, decided to tempt Eve. Appearing in the form of the serpent, he actually copulated with her (Targum Jonathan, Gen. 4:1; Zohar I: 37a). He is one candidate that the tradition has identified to be the angel who wrestled with Jacob (Zohar, I: 148a-b). Satan-like, he accused Israel of idol worship while they dwelt in Egyptian slavery (Ex. R. 21:7). He attempted to claim the soul of Moses, who fended him off with his miraculous rod.... He is the tempting angel from whom the Evil Inclination emanates.... In later Chasidic thought, Samael is the organizing force of the kelipot, the garments of evil that enshroud the divine vine sparks contained in all things."
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWISH MYTH, MAGIC AND MYSTICISM, Samael entry, by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis, Llewellyn Publications (2007).
In the Jewish Talmud, Midrash, and Dead Sea Scrolls, Satan is portrayed as being intimately involved in luring and misleading the Old Testament saints into destructive attitudes and situations. Even though Satan was not explicitly mentioned in the textual lives of these Old Testament saints, these later Jewish writers nonetheless perceived Satan throughout the subtext of their Scriptures.
In their later Talmudic, Dead Sea Scrolls, and Midrashic writings, they often flushed Satan out of the shadows into the open. They saw that Satan was always there imbedded in the Old Testament texts attempting to tempt, corrupt, and even destroy Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses and others.
Satan is the one who lures Noah into drunkenness (Tanh. Noah 13). Satan provoked the Golden Calf incident (Shab. 89a). Satan lured David into a confrontation with Ishi-benob, the brother of Goliath (Sanh. 45a). These Jewish writings portray Satan as the Death Angel of the Old Testament (B.B. 16a). They also cast him as the Angel of Temptation, Prosecution and Destruction running "sting operations" to destroy men as he did in the book of Job.
In Jubilees 17:16, concerning Abraham's offering of Isaac, the document actually attributes the initiative to kill Isaac to "Prince Mastema," a well-known name for Satan in Jewish lore.
Several Jewish "Sages even speak in the plural of Satanim, as if 'adversaries' were a class of destructive angels...." THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWISH MYTH, MAGIC AND MYSTICISM, Satan entry, by Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis, Llewellyn Publications (2007).
So, IF the Jews came to believe that Satan/Samael was:
--the wrath of God
--the angel of death
--the Prince of demons and destructive angels
--the Serpent in the Garden
--the source of temptation
--the knowledge of good and evil
--the destroyer of men
--the greatest angel in heaven
--the chief of all the Satans
--the angel of the Lord who wrestled with Jacob
--the organizing force of evil
...then who are we to shrug our shoulders, wave our interpretive wand, and simply say Satan doesn't HAVE and, in fact, never HAD legitimate relevance to the Jewish and Christian understanding of evil, wrath,temptation, and death.
This should give us pause.
Here is why.
If even the later Jewish scholars and writers of the Talmud, Midrash and the Dead Sea Scrolls, ALL believed that Satan lurked within the subtext of Old Testament Scripture, then so certainly should we. They had a better differentiated view of the works of God versus the works of Satan. However, they didn't go quite far enough, for they STILL considered Satan an obedient servant angel who operated under the direct commands of God. Satan just did God's "dirty work" under their view. Satan was God's left hand of wrath, his angry voice so to speak.
But, Jesus corrected THIS fatal misconception. Jesus NEVER authenticated Satan as serving His Abba in ANY way, shape or form. Jesus cast Satan down and out from Heavenly belonging as the "murderer" and "father of lies" from "the beginning," the one whose "lusts" we "commit" when we sin, sins that are "of him" (Satan). Satan is the one to whom Jesus thrice referred to as the rebellious "ruler (archon) of this world."
So, Jesus took the evolving Jewish understanding the final step by revealing Satan as a cosmic rebel totally acting "off the grid" of divine approval or cooperation. Jesus demanded the exegetical re-insertion of Satan into the Old Testament narrative. Until and unless we do this, His Abba will wrongfully be blamed for acts which are unworthy of Him.
Satan is not God's angry voice. Jesus is God's only voice. And that voice has NO cruelty, deception, destruction, oppression, coercion, hostility or hypocrisy. That voice is Jesus.
Jesus saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven...
Or, put another way, Jesus saw the attributes of Satan drop away from our heavenly image of God.
When His 70 joyful disciples returned after having healed and blessed so many as they declared the kingdom of Heaven was now here, the people saw...for the first time...the pure...the unadulterated...the Satan-free...image of the Heavenly Abba.
The people SAW.
They saw a love divine without condition, reservation or limit.
They saw God as a rescuing healer, not a cruel afflicter.
They saw God as a subject of our awe, not our terror.
They saw Satan was the Old Testament oppressor, not Abba. Abba was richly in the Old Testament, but only as the Father of light, love and all blessing, in whom there is no darkness, variableness, or shadow of turning.
Jesus knew that wondrous day that Satan's nature had been completely severed and separated from Abba's nature. Satan's attributes of wrath, cruelty, vengeance, oppression, and condemnation had forever been cut, culled away and discarded as heavenly virtues.
Satan fell from Heaven's image that day. And he is still falling...